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Page 24

They’d just have to wait until the thing was over. To waste some time, he went through a drive-thru for Kylie, whose stomach he could hear rumbling in protest of the lack of food, and then he parked in back, where he eyed Eric’s vehicle.

“What are we doing back here?” Kylie asked, inhaling her French fries.


She nodded. “How long do we wait?”

“Long as it takes,” he said distractedly because she was sucking the salt off her thumb.

Then she sucked on the straw to her soda and he nearly had a brain aneurism.

“What’s the longest you’ve had to wait?” she asked.

He met her gaze with some difficulty. The woman had the most gorgeous mouth he’d ever seen.

“Well?” she demanded, cracking through the lust and making him smile. She was impatient as hell. What is the longest I’ve had to wait? Well, let’s see . . . he’d waited an entire year before getting his mouth on hers, but he was pretty sure that was way too revealing, not to mention not what she’d meant. “It won’t be much longer.”

“What if we miss him back here?”

“We won’t. That’s his car,” he said, pointing to the Tesla Roadster on the corner. “He’s not going anywhere without us knowing about it.”

She slid him a look. “And as a bonus, by waiting back here you don’t have to put on a suit.”

He went brows up.

“Molly told me you hate to wear suits. That your idea of dressing up is tucking in your T-shirt.” She smiled. “Molly’s pretty funny.”

“Molly has a big mouth,” he said.

“Molly’s amazing.”

True story. Molly was amazing. Didn’t mean he wanted his baby sister giving away his secrets. “What else did she say about me?” he asked.

“That heroes don’t wear capes, they wear dog tags and camo, and that you and your dad are her heroes.”

Ah, hell. “I’m no one’s hero, Kylie.”

Their gazes met and then hers dropped to his mouth. Great minds, he thought as she shifted closer in that sexy blond wig and the trench coat that was still fucking with his mind. He had his arm along the back of her seat and let his fingers stroke the soft skin at the nape of her neck.

She shivered and her eyes darkened, and that was all the invite he needed. He lowered his head to hers and—

She jumped back like she’d been stung by a bee. “Oh!” she said. “I almost forgot.” She dove into her huge purse and came up with two penknives.

“I’m already armed,” he said.

“What?” She blinked. “No, I’m going to teach you how to carve.” She paused. “Wait. You’re armed?”


“Are you always armed?”

“On the job, yeah.”

She looked him over, her gaze slowing in certain spots that had him getting a little heated. “Where?”


She shook her head a little. “Never mind. Don’t tell me. Carve. We’re going to carve.”


“So you can understand why I want my grandpa’s penguin back.” She then proceeded to pull two small blocks of wood from her bag.

“How much shit does that bag hold?” he asked in marvel.

“A lot, and that’s the point of it.” She also came up with a bag of chocolate kisses, grinning in triumph. “Dessert!”

He wasn’t much of a dessert guy but she looked so pleased with herself. The chocolate went down sweet and so did the way she so carefully showed him how to hold the wood and how to carve. He opened his mouth to tell her he didn’t have the patience for art but she bent over him, her brow furrowed in cute, bossy teacher mode. The long blond wig strands swept across his forearms and he forgot what he was going to say. He followed her instructions and they carved.

It was nearly impossible to make anything except notches in the wood but he did his best. After a few minutes, Kylie lifted her face to his, their mouths only an inch apart, hers smiling. “Wow,” she said. “You’re really bad at this.”

No doubt. And something else he was—hard and getting harder by the moment. It was unbelievable to him just how uncontrolled he was around her. He had no excuse for it, but he was damned tired of fighting it. So he hauled her into his lap so that she straddled him, cupped her sweet ass in his hands, and kissed her until it was him letting out a groan for more, him sweating because he wanted her more than he could remember ever wanting anything, him actually losing his ability to keep vigilant and aware of his surroundings.

He stopped only when she put a hand on his chest and pulled back.

“Don’t you need to keep a lookout?” she asked, as if she hadn’t just completely rocked his world into next week.

They could have been surrounded by gangbangers and he wouldn’t have even noticed. He had it bad and worse, he didn’t care. He still had a hand gripping a cheek, the other fisted in her hair to hold her head. “Yeah.” Jesus. He shook the lust off with shocking difficulty, even as a small part of him recognized this wasn’t just sheer animal magnetism. But that problem would have to get in line.

“So . . .” She smiled. “Back to carving?”

“Sure.” He was glad his voice sounded so normal because he didn’t feel normal. He felt like howling at the moon. But though she was flushed from the kiss, she looked equally happy to teach him to carve.

Talk about humbling. So when she climbed off him and back into her seat, he pretended to give a shit about using a knife for something other than threatening someone and told himself to just enjoy having her hands on his.

Even though what he really wanted was to have his hands back on her.

Chapter 12


Kylie didn’t carve very often anymore. When her grandpa had been alive, they’d carved together at night after work and chores were done. It’d been a way they could connect, and for Kylie, who hadn’t had a lot of connections in her life, it’d been everything.

After her grandpa’s death, carving had lost some of its appeal. But tonight, getting her hands on the knife, the movements came back easily as getting on a bike after a long absence, and it gave her . . . peace.

Being in such close contact with Joe gave her other things too. Like a soul-deep yearning and a hunger she’d denied for far too long now. She watched him work the knife over the wood, cutting deep instead of shallow, and she had to admit, it was kind of fun to find that he wasn’t good at everything. She put her hands over his again, trying to show not tell that he needed to caress and finesse. Wrapping her fingers around his, she guided them as he worked the knife up and down.

His eyes landed on hers. “If you keep that up,” he said, “we’re not going to have any problem with the wood.”

He said the word wood in a low, suggestive tone, and her hands stilled as she felt her cheeks flush pink. He held her gaze for a long moment, smiled, and then . . . went back to concentrating on the carving.

She adjusted the angle of his wrists, but mostly it was just to keep her hands on him. He was warm to the touch and she could feel the sinewy muscles in his forearms flexing with each stroke of his knife. She squirmed in her seat, and again he met her gaze. At whatever he found in her expression, a full-blown smile lit up his face, transforming him into a regular guy for a minute. “It’s been a long time,” he said.

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